The Waco regional did not start the way the Bears had hoped on Friday night. The Bears were the #4 national seed and were sending one of the best pitchers in the nation to the mound- Josh Turley. The junior ace had faced and mowed down Big12 hitters all year entering the series with a 9-0 record and a sub 2.00 earned run average.
But the Bears were quickly deflated by a 4-2 loss to #4 seed Oral Roberts (RPI- 104). Getting to the Super Regional seemed like a low probability for the Bears early Saturday morning. They would have to win four straight games which is hard to do in a tournament format.
But this is not last year's Bears (who had their hearts ripped out after a collapse against Cal in an elimination game). They have shown tremendous resolve all year.
The Bears got behind UTA (#3 seed) in game #2. They were down 5-4 going into the 7th inning in that game. But they exploded for 7 runs in the last three innings and eliminated UTA 11-6. Max Garner got the win for the Bears after Trent Blank (10-1; 2.32 ERA) got bounced early. Josh Ludy went 4-4 in the win and hit his 15th home run on the season.
Game #3 was against Oral Roberts. The Bears got outstanding pitching from Tyler Bremer (7-1; 3.08 ERA); Kolt Browder and Crayton Bare. They eliminated Oral Roberts 5-2 Sunday afternoon. Logan Vick was the hero from the plate in this one- going 4 for 5 with three runs batted in.
Game #4 was Sunday evening against Dallas Baptist (#2 seed). Baylor was on starting pitcher #4 and decided to go with freshman Austin Stone. DBU countered with their #3 guy- Jay Calhoun. Stone pitched a great game- holding DBU to two hits and one run before departing in the 6th inning. Ryan Smith and Trent Blank shut the door. Bears won the game 9-2. Max Muncy; Dan Evatt and Cal Towey all homered in the game for the Bears.
Game #5 was the elimination game for both teams as the Bears had to beat DBU again. Josh Turley got the call for the Bears. He was not sharp early- allowing a run in the 1st inning. But the Bears pitching got the job done and the game. Turley had thrown 99 pitches Friday night and it showed a little on Monday night. He allowed two runs in four innings on five hits.
Dillon Newman pitched brilliantly in relief. He took over in the 5th inning and threw 5 innings of shut out ball. Allowing only one hit in the process. The Bears were up 3-2 heading into the 6th. The offense got cranked up and added five runs in the last 3 innings.
The Bears advance and get to host Arkansas in the Super Regional Friday and Saturday in Waco. And if necessary Sunday- best two out of three. An opportunity to go to Omaha for the College World Series is on the line.
The Year of the Bear continues. The baseball team brings their record to 48-15 with the win tonight. That gives the four major sports 128 wins total- putting distance between the University of Texas' previous record of 123 wins. Great job by the resilient Bears!